Six days! Six days l spent drawing a piece l am not happy with! I have wanted to draw a toucan for such a long time, and now that l have, l don’t like it!
I suppose l wanted to share with you the simple truth that not every piece we draw works out even close to what we were hoping for. I know sometimes we look at other artists work (especially on social media) and assume every piece they do works out well. I am sure l am not alone in having pieces that don’t work though. I am happy with myself for finishing it, something l really try hard to do. And l made myself finish it properly, l didn’t rush.
But l learned some things here. I really hate working with black! Even though l layered other colors with it so that it wasn’t flat black, l still hated it! It makes me feel miserable. I mean, l knew before this piece that l don’t enjoy working with dark colors, but l thought there were enough other colors in this piece for it to be ok. Turns out that there weren’t!
l had all kinds of issues with this piece. I can’t stop it looking cartoonish. Is that just because toucans do look a bit cartoonish? It won’t pop off the paper and l am not sure why! And l had huge problems with black pencil dust muddying up the other colors! It didn’t matter how much l brushed and erased, or that l kept Glassene under my hand, that black got everywhere! Except where l wanted it! It kept disappearing from the birds body!
l think on reflection l should have made the green leaves much more green than they were in the photo. The only bit that worked quite well for me were the stringy bits on the branch, which turned out better than expected.
So l got myself quite low over this piece. I start to feel that l just don’t make any progress. That l will never be as good as l want to be. I am not trying to be the best in the world (which is just as well as that is an unattainable goal for anyone), just the best that l can be (which is also unattainable really as we can always be just a little better!), and l felt like l had gone a few steps backwards with this piece.
l just wanted to share that with you because not everyone thinks every piece they do is awesome. It is normal to feel not good enough sometimes. It is normal to have pieces that don’t work out so well. It is ok to say this wasn’t as good as it should have been. It is normal to lose your confidence at times.
The important thing is not to give up. Finish that piece however hard it is. Learn something from it. Even if all you learn is to pick your subjects more wisely or that you shouldn’t work with black!
Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start on a brand new piece! That is what l am doing. Back to my favorite subjects for a little while to get my confidence back!
And l will be back very soon with some new pencils l am testing out, which is always exciting. So watch this space! And keep drawing, even if it isn’t always quite what you wish it to be.
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